Ardabil Province is one of the 31-provinces of Iran. It is in the northwest of the country, bordering the Republic of Azarbayjan and the provinces of East Azarbayjan, Zanjan, and Gilan. Its center is the city of Ardabil. The province was established in 1993 from the eastern part of East Azarbayjan.

Many tourists come to the region for its cool climate during the hot summer months. The winters are bitterly cold. Its famous natural region is the Sabalan Mountains. The province is considered the coldest province and many large parts of the province are green and forested.

The natural features of the province of Ardabil are mentioned in the Avesta, according to which Zoroaster was born by the river Aras and wrote his book in the Sabalan Mountains. During the Islamic conquest on Iran, Ardabil was the largest city in Azarbayjan, and remained so until the Mongol invasion period. Shah Ismail1 started his campaign to nationalize Iran’s government and land from here, but consequently announced Tabriz as his capital in 1500 CE. Yet Ardabil remained an important city both politically and economically until modern times.

Ardabil is the sanctuary of Sheikh Safi ad-Adin, eponym of the Safavid Dynasty. It has many hot springs and natural landscapes which attract tourists. In the Safavid period, Ardabil was the most important city of Iran both politically and economically. The city of Ardabil located on the trade crossroads between Europe and the East, played a critical role in the safety of the Silk Road. The province is still strategically important with respect to tourism and trade. The city of Ardabil now is one of the most important cities of the province and Iran for its many historical monuments, specially the Safavid family’s mausoleums and tombs, its location near many thermal springs with therapeutic virtues, and location on the main access road to the Republic of Azarbayjan. These have turned the city to a tourism center, which is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Reference: Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts & Tourism Organization of Iran, Iran Travel guide. Iran: 2018

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